Egypt inaugurates the largest wind farm in the Middle East and North Africa
By Talita Covre
Yesterday Egypt’s Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy alongside the New & Renewable Energy Authority inaugurated the 200 MW Gulf of ElZayt Wind Farm on the west bank of the Gulf of Suez, setting a massive precedent for renewable power development in the region.
The farm will generate up to 800 GWh, enough to power 40,000 households. This will expand the so-needed access to electricity for the Egyptian population in the aftermath of the 2014 energy crisis, when demand dramatically outpaced the available supply. This is a situation Egypt doesn’t want to live anymore and the government’s strong steps towards power development programmes are a great evidence of that.
The Gulf of ElZayt project, which started in 2010 as a cooperation between the Arab Republic of Egypt, Germany’s KfW, the European Union and the European Investment Bank, demonstrates Egypt’s seriousness about its renewable targets and its willingness to work with international investors taking part in the country’s renewables revolution. At the eve of the Paris Conference on Climate Change, this inauguration talks about an Egypt that is already looking after the renewable’s future, reserving its place among the world’s leaders in renewable power production. Indeed, the plant alone will prevent about 500,000 tons of CO2 emissions every year.
Dr Mohamed Salah El Sobki, the Executive Chairman of the New & Renewable Energy Authority told EnergyNet that “Egypt targets to achieve 40% of renewables share in its energy mix by 2035.” This project is a great achievement as it increases Egypt’s overall installed wind capacity by 36 percent. Dr Sobki says that this is just the beginning as “a new wind project of 250 MW is about to be signed for and another 250 MW bid is out already.”
Egypt wants to attract private investors to develop its power sector and help to satisfy the high power demand, and the government isn’t sparing efforts to create an attractive investment environment for companies willing to expand into the country. The next step for Egyptian authorities is to define the National Energy Strategy 2035 which will help to enhance private engagement and competitiveness of power production.
The National Energy Strategy 2035 and much more will be discussed at the Egypt Energy Investment Summit that EnergyNet will host in Cairo from 16 to 18 February 2016. The meeting will bring senior national and regional policy makers along with leading international investors to decide together what can be done to create a safe and sustainable power supply environment in Egypt and in the region. With the government to share its new vision for a more open and competitive power industry, regional governments to share their support, new strategies to be developed and new public and private partnerships to be signed, this meeting will accelerate the timer for power development in Egypt and in Africa.
To find out more about the meeting click here
(EnergyNet Press Release)